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Oklahoma City — The 2009 Jim Thorpe Award preseason “watch list” announced today includes 31 of the nation’s best defensive backs as the leading candidates for this year’s trophy. Among the candidates is Ohio State senior safety Kurt Coleman. Coleman was third on the team in tackles last season with 78 and led the team with four interceptions.

The Thorpe Award is one of college football’s most sought after and prestigious awards.  It is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back.  Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as “The Legend”, Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon. 

The Jim Thorpe Award “watch list” is determined by analysis of the pre-season All-American teams listed in at least six pre-season college football annual magazines.  Four points are awarded for first team, three points for second team, two points for third and one point for honorable mentions.  This procedure determines approximately 30-40 players on the pre-season watch list.  This list is not final and players who have outstanding seasons are added as the season progresses.

A “Screening Committee” of Jim Thorpe Association members follows these players throughout the season, watching games and researching information sources to grade Thorpe Award candidates on the basis of performance on the field, athletic ability and character.  The committee meets on the first Monday in November to narrow the field to 10 or 12 semi-finalists.

The committee meets again on the Monday before Thanksgiving to select the three finalists.  The names of these finalists are submitted to a national panel of about 50 sports writers, sportscasters, coaches and former players who vote to determine the winner.  The three finalists are invited to the ESPN College Football Awards Show, and the winner is announced during the show.

Formal presentation of the Jim Thorpe Award takes place at ceremonies in Oklahoma City on the first Tuesday in February following the national signing date for college football recruits.

National College Football Awards Association
The Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA).  The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards.  The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients.  For more information, visit the association’s official Web site, www.NCFAA.org.

Javier Arenas – SR – Alabama                                                           Duke Ihenacho – SR – San Jose State

Aaron Berry – SR – Pittsburgh                                                            Reshad Jones – JR – Georgia

Eric Berry – JR – Tennessee                                                                Jordan Lake – SR – Baylor

Ahmad Black – JR – Florida                                                               Myron Lewis – SR – Vanderbilt

Morgan Burnett -J R – Georgia Tech                                                  Trevard Lindley – SR – Kentucky

Kendric Burey – JR – North Carolina                                                                Taylor Mays – SR -Univ. of Southern California

Crezdon Butler – SR – Clemson                                                         Amari Spievey – JR – Iowa 

Kam Chancellor -SR – Virginia Tech                                                 Darrell Stuckey – SR -Kansas

Chris Chandler – SR – Clemson                                                         Earl Thomas – SO – Texas  

Barry Church – SR – Toledo                                                               Syd’Quan Thompson – SR – California

Kurt Coleman – SR – Ohio State                                                         Walter Thurmond – SR – Oregon

Parrish Cox – SR -Oklahoma State University                                 Alterraun Verner – SR – UCLA

Ras-I Dowling – JR – Virginia                                                            Stephen Virgil – SR – Virginia Tech

Van Eskridge – SR – East Carolina                                                    Deunta Williams – JR – North Carolina

Dominique Franks – JR – Oklahoma                                                 Kyle Wilson – SR – Boise State

Joe Haden – JR – Florida